A History of Indian Philosophy Volume 1

by Surendranath Dasgupta | 1922 | 212,082 words | ISBN-13: 9788120804081

This page describes the philosophy of life of mahavira: a concept having historical value dating from ancient India. This is the fifth part in the series called the “the jaina philosophy”, originally composed by Surendranath Dasgupta in the early 20th century.

Part 5 - Life of Mahāvīra

Mahāvīra, the last prophet of the Jains, was a Kṣattriya of the Jñāta clan and a native of Vaiśāli (modern Besarh, 27 miles north of Patna). He was the second son of Siddhārtha and Triśalā. The Śvetāmbaras maintain that the embryo of the Tīrthaṅkara which first entered the womb of the Brahmin lady Devanandā was then transferred to the womb of Triśalā. This story the Digambaras do not believe as we have already seen. His parents were the worshippers of Pārśva and gave him the name Varddha-māna (Vīra or Mahāvīra). He married Yaśodā and had a daughter by her. In his thirtieth year his parents died and with the permission of his brother Nandivardhana he became a monk. After twelve years of self-mortification and meditation he attained omniscience (kevala, cf. bodhi of the Buddhists). He lived to preach for forty-two years more, and attained mokṣa (emancipation) some years before Buddha in about 480 B.C.[1].

Footnotes and references:


See Hoernlé’s translation of Uvāsagadasāo, Jacobi, loc. cit., and Hoernlé’s article on the Ājīvakas, E. R. E. The Śvetāmbaras, however, say that this date was 527 B.C., and the Digambaras place it eighteen years later.

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